A Guide to Buying a High-Quality Extra Virgin
It’s no secret that extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the best oil you can have in your kitchen. Although choosing one from a shelf of bottles at wildly different price points can be a challenge. To make your decision a little easier, we’ve put together a guide on how to buy high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
Only buy ‘extra virgin’ olive oil
If possible, you should always opt for extra virgin olive oil over any other type of olive oil. Regular or light olive oils are often refined and processed, which are not as healthy for you. They also do not have a high polyphenols content like extra virgin olive oil does, which means you won’t be getting the most from your oil.
Avoid clear bottles
The three enemies of olive oil are light, heat, and air, so it’s best to avoid anything in a clear glass bottle. Olive oil should be stored in a cool dark place to ensure the oil inside does not lose most of its flavour and aroma. Look for extra virgin olive oil packaged in dark glass bottles or opaque tins.
Consider the price
When buying olive oil, the price can reflect the quality. You shouldn’t expect to buy the most expensive oil and have it be the best. However, a high-quality extra virgin olive oil will start at around $30 a half litre. The price is determined by multiple factors such as vintage and yield production, labour which is very high for high quality products, plant and olive grove maintenance, bottling, labelling and import eventually.
Give it a smell
Sensory analysis can be beneficial when trying to identify a quality olive oil. This can be done by placing your hand over the top of the cup and swirling the oil around. Once the oil has warmed, remove your hand, and smell the oil. Depending on the variety of olive, high-quality EVOO will be green, bright, lively, and fruity. If the oil has gone off, you will smell the rancid and mouldiness.
Give it a taste
Continuing with the sensory analysis of EVOO, the next step is to smell it. Extra virgin olive oil should be tasted on its own (no bread or crackers) in a small glass. The oil should taste like fresh olives- grassy, green, and fruity. It should also have a slight bitterness and pungency, which tells you the EVOO is rich in polyphenols and therefore a high quality one. Sweetness is most likely a fault in tasting extra virgin olive oil as it defines overriped (or even rotten) olives have been used during the process.
Use your eyes
Contrary to popular belief, the colour of olive oil has nothing to do with the quality. High-quality extra virgin olive oil colours can range from bright green to straw yellow. Despite this, you should still look at the consistency of the oil to help determine the quality. If you can see sediment or particles in the oil, it means it has not been filtered. Unfiltered EVOO is the best you can find only if consumed within 3 weeks from the making. If the oil is imported or made over a month ago, then stay away from unfiltered olive oil as it contains particles that will turn the product off.
Now you should be fully equipped with all the knowledge you need to buy high-quality extra virgin olive oil. If you don’t have time to follow all these tips yourself, you can find all of the best extra virgin olive oils we stock here.